Thursday, April 21, 2016

Scam Tactics: Indignantly imply everybody else is wrong i.e. Nerium Proponent's Comment Dissected

English: There are no symbols that represent s...
skepticism, skeptical inquiry, critical thinking,
critical inquiry, and truth-seeking. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
When you see a random claim, do you simply accept it as is, or do you adopt the Reagan doctrine: "Trust, but verify"?  A skeptic uses the latter.

Indeed, scam tactics often simply deny everything, randomly make some claims, and claimed to be outraged at the lack of facts presented.

Recently I came across this comment by a Nerium proponent. I am going to number the claims (i.e. sentences that appear to be factual, not merely an opinion), and let's verify each one.
Get your facts correct please. Nerium sold at Sears was counterfeit. (1) You will no longer find it there. (2)
The extract itself, NAE-8 is patented. (3) Look it up. Do a tiny bit of research on Jeff Olson (4) (you’ll kick yourself for your ignorance).
The before & afters are from its distributors. (5) One bad apple doesn’t spoil the bunch & that apple was taken care of (6) – & others warned.
Most importantly, results from the night treatment are published in the peer-reviewed literature. (7) Try looking up the Journal of Aging, Science, Jr of Clinical & Investigative Dermatology, etc…… (8)
The patented extract is the first superantioxidant on the planet. Look it up. (9)
Please don’t confuse searching with research! Try it, you might just learn something new!

Claim 1: Was Nerium sold at Sears counterfeit?

As we have not seen this listed ANYWHERE (search for Nerium + Sears just brings up similar night creams) we'll have to say "unverifiable", as we have nothing to show either true, or false.


Claim 2: Is Nerium sold at Sears?

Nope, nothing there.

TRUE (but inconsequential, how often have you seen MLM products in retail? Never!)

Claim 3: Is NAE-8 patented?

Nope, NAE-8 is a registered trademark, not a patent. Nerium appears to hold at least two patents on how to extract oleander and aloe, but NAE-8 is not "patented", just trademarked as "non-medicated skin care preparation ingredient" under cosmetics.


Claim 4: Is there anything surprising on Jeff Olson?

Searching for Jeff Olson shows that he used to ran People's Network, a Self-Improvement TV Channel, that got bought by Prepaid Legal in 1997ish, and he became Prepaid Legal's CEO in 1999. In 2001 PL was hit by Wyoming Attorney General with charges of illegal income claims, then SEC also hit Prepaid Legal for misclaiming expenses as assets (i.e. inflating its financial situation). PL was sued hundreds of times in Missouri, won a few, lost more, decided to settle the remaining 400+ cases. Then things were quite until 2009, when both FTC and SEC subpoenaed some documents for fact-finding missions. In 2011 PL was bought out and reorganized, and Olson left (or was forced out) and started Nerium.

Nothing too surprising, or worthy of emulation, IMHO. Got lucky and got acquired, had to wield whip on sales force to keep them in line, and got forced out during corporate shuffle.


Sunday, April 17, 2016

Is it just series of bad judgment, or "once a thief, always a thief"?

Given that how many of the Ponzi pimps have been around for years, it's quite surprising that people aren't using Google enough and pick up their history.

One of the most vocal supporters of OneCoin was Thomas E. McMurrain. This is him pitching his "Welcome to OneCoin AlphaTeam"

Thomas E. McMurrain, pitching his OneCoin Alpha Team
The guy really needs better green-screening. The sun is clearly coming from the RIGHT in the photo background, but his face is lighted from the LEFT.  But who said that these folks are exactly detail oriented?

But if you bothered searching his name for a bit (never mind his self-PR like "7th Disruption", a book he "wrote" to promote OneCoin) you'll find some rather... disturbing details, like how he kept picking losers... Such as... Solavei

Tom McMurrain touring country w/ Solavei in 2012
Solavei went belly up in 2015

For those who didn't keep up, Solavei closed its doors in late 2015.  Which is apparently when Tommy here picked up the OneCoin banner. He apparently posted on Facebook when Vemma was closed by FTC "come join us in OneCoin", much like ambulance chasers.

So what was Tommy doing before 2015? Well, we need to count, but there's FlexKom... a scheme that went nowhere except Turkey and pushed by Ponzi-pimp Ian Driscoll, formerly of BannerBroker.

Just a few months later, it apparently did not pay Tanju Colak a Turkish ex-footballer and local celebrity, whom joined FlexKom a while back. Mr. Colak sued and FlexKom lost. A possible class action lawsuit was still undetermined as of 2014, and I can't search in Turkish to find an update, but it is said to possibly involve 40000 FlexKom members in Turkey. The business also seem to have gone quiet at the end of 2014. Definitely NOT another winner, something that sells itself, as Mr. McMurrain claimed, if it can't even sell itself on their home continent.

So what else did Mr. McMurrain involve himself in? No less than one of the widest spread Ponzi schemes in US history:  ZeekRewards.

Tommy here registered a "join Zeek and make me $$$" domain in March 2012. For the record, Zeek Rewards was shut down in August 2012 by Secret Service, SEC, and other Federal agencies.  Again, Tommy can't seem to pick a winner.

So what was Tommy doing even before this?  TVI Express... an international pyramid scheme.